HomeAPPSTop 15 pfSense Alternatives for creating secure network in 2023

Top 15 pfSense Alternatives for creating secure network in 2023

pfSense is a popular open-source firewall software used to create secure networks. It provides numerous features, including simple configuration, high stability and scalability, an integrated web server and database, VPN support, etc. However, it is not the only product on the market; several pfSense alternatives with comparable features and benefits are also available.

Top 15 pfSense Alternatives for creating secure network in 2023

1. Azure Firewall

Microsoft Azure is a notable firewall that offers sophisticated protection for on-premises, hybrid, and multi-cloud systems. Azure is highly recommended as a firewall that provides secure, future-ready solutions for business enterprises. It is a cloud-native network firewall that provides three distinct categories of enterprise security. Azure Firewall Basic, Azure Firewall Standard, and Azure Firewall Premium are included.

All of them accommodate various network capacities. I like Azure primarily because nothing requires time-consuming configuration. Second, it is possible to obtain network traffic filter rules that regulate various IP addresses and sources. Its limitless cloud scalability is commendable as it can accommodate varying network types and traffic fluctuations.

Azure is the ideal firewall for cloud environments that wish to reduce infrastructure and energy costs while simultaneously increasing operational efficiency. Azure is very useful for developers because it permits the creation of applications using open-source tools.

You can also choose to restrict or permit access to particular website categories. Azure possesses a useful threat intelligence field that can detect when a domain is malevolent and alert the user accordingly. Azure has another advantage over most firewalls, including pfSense, in that its SNAT and DNAT features enable users to add multiple IP addresses.

2. IPFire

If you want to replace pfSense with an open-source network firewall, you should investigate IPFire. It is a free, advanced, robust, and extremely flexible Linux-based firewall. IPFire is highly recommended due to its user-friendliness, which makes it one of the top choices for both small and large businesses. Its firewall engine safeguards your network system from DoS sites and internet criminals.

IPFire includes an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that analyses all network Internet activity. It monitors network traffic, identifies any suspicious activity, sends a notification, and blocks these activities immediately. I particularly like IPFire’s Web Proxy Feature, which allows you to filter web content by allowing or denying access to specific websites, making it ideal for colleges and universities.

IPFire can also be utilised as a VPN to connect remote locations, which is particularly advantageous for remote access. Unlike pfSense, the IPFire firewall comes with additional functionality-enhancing add-ons. This is yet another advantage of choosing IPFire.

One of the benefits of these add-ons is that they transform IPFire into a wireless access point. In addition, they offer print, backup, and file services. For instance, you can use IPFire’s Bacula tools to verify, recover, and back up network data that is beneficial. You can also browse the Internet anonymously with its Tor add-on.

3. Sophos

Sophos is a firewall with high efficacy for appliance, cloud, and virtual security. It is designed with an Xstream architecture that simultaneously protects your network systems and accelerates all application traffic.

Sophos is a fantastic alternative to pfSense because it includes TLS 1.3 Decryption, which works with intelligent TLS inspection to eliminate massive internet blind spots for easy navigation.

In addition, it provides exceptional network visibility that enables you to identify malicious traffic and hazards and gives you complete control over the network. Sophos is equipped with advanced Intrusion Prevention (IPS) technologies that prevent unidentified IP addresses from accessing network data.

I also like how Sophos improves hardware acceleration and offers intelligent traffic selection to manage network traffic changes. Its synchronised Security feature protects all incorporated applications, synchronises all user IDs, and offers protection against lateral movement.

Sophos also employs a VPN feature that enables remote access to your network system and a virus and malware scanner that runs continuously. You never have to worry about complicated configurations, and the best part is that Sophos protects your email as well.

4. OPNsense

OPNsense is an additional user-friendly, open-source, FreeBSD firewall and router. It distinguishes itself from other firewalls by combining highly sophisticated features with an open-source system. First, the OPNsense firewall supports IPv4 and IPv6 and provides a real-time view of denied and permitted traffic. It also includes a multi-WAN that supports failover and helps provide network traffic balance.

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In addition, there is a web-filtering system that enables access to, control over, and support for external blacklists that prevent undesirable traffic. Additionally, OPNsense supports two-factor authentication throughout the entire system, including VPN access.

Additionally, it has an Intrusion Detection and Prevention function that eliminates CNC bots and Trojans. Using its ZeroTier modules, your Software-Defined WAN can be set up in minutes. OPNsense, unlike pfSense, supports OSPF and BGP plugins via the Free Range Router project. Additionally, you can select any language, as the firewall offers over ten options for language selection.

One of the primary advantages of OPNsense over pfSense is its highly responsive and intuitive user interface, which even includes a search function. Additionally, the firewall supports an encrypted configuration feature for backing up files to Google Drive.

5. SonicWall

The SonicWall next-generation firewall (NGFW) is included on our list of the top alternatives to pfSense because it provides advanced protection for small and large businesses. Certified by ICSA laboratories as the highest level of firewall, SonicWall has demonstrated that it only provides high-performance firewalls for any network system. It offers security, network visibility, and network control to prevent intrusions.

One of the reasons I like this firewall device is that it is available in a variety of configurations to meet specific security requirements at a reasonable price. SonicWall provides SOHO/TZ series firewalls for small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, it provides the NSa series and NS sp firewalls for large organisations with high-performance security systems. The NSv Series Firewall finally offers cloud security for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

The fundamental difference between pfSense and SonicWall firewalls is that SonicWall’s configuration is simpler, giving it an advantage over pfSense. Additionally, I appreciate that SonicWall can administer multiple firewalls from a single interface and identify security risks through a comprehensive analytics dashboard.

6. ClearOS

Consider ClearOS if you need a free firewall to secure your network system. It consists of various operating systems that are based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux source packages. This makes it an ideal IT management instrument for both small and large businesses, as well as home network systems. A benefit of this firewall is that, despite its sophisticated features, it is quite simple to configure and set up due to its highly intuitive web-based user interface.

Additionally, I appreciate that it includes a marketplace with over a hundred useful applications to create a highly adaptable and secure operating system. It functions as an all-in-one server that allows you to manage diverse business applications and requirements.

ClearOS is also an excellent alternative to pfSense due to its dependability; it provides security on par with more expensive firewall brands. It also provides its users with intrusion prevention and content filtering benefits. Additionally, it supports more than 150 languages, allowing you to comprehend the system regardless of your location. Additionally, I appreciate that ClearOS supports Microsoft Active Directory Sync Application.

The best aspect is that you gain centralised control over your on-premise and cloud-based network systems. Additionally, I appreciate that all integrated applications on ClearOS are automatically upgraded without my intervention.

7. FortiGate

It is an alternative to pfSense that provides immaculate network security regardless of network location. FortiGate is a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) that provides more than just threat protection and decryption services; it also enables the creation of a secure network using advanced features such as 5G, SD-WAN, and wireless connectivity.

This security software is also well-known for its AI-powered security performance, which safeguards on-premise, hybrid, and cloud environments against malicious internet intrusions. The firewall’s FortiGate IPS provides protection against unknown assaults, and the firewall’s optimal visibility allows you to view the activities of all users, devices, and applications to detect and prevent threats.

I appreciate that FortiGate NGFW offers a machine-learning feature that enables you to create efficient operations, which can be very helpful for assisting an overworked technical team. In addition, it offers optimal protection for integrated networks through its network convergence feature.

8. Untangle NG Firewall

NG Firewall is a network security system that has been streamlined to accommodate the requirements of any organisation. It provides organisations with limited IT resources and budgets with a single, modular software platform.

The web-based, responsive, and intuitive user interface of NG Firewall provides visibility options for monitoring network traffic. This feature allows you to prevent malicious software and cyber attacks before they enter your network.

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NG Firewall provides filtering options of the next generation for managing all encrypted web requests, malware distribution points, and spam attacks. I also appreciate that the NG Firewall provides superior connectivity that boosts the efficacy of the organisation.

It becomes simpler to efficiently manage all workforces, both on-site and remote operations. In addition to ensuring Quality of Service (QoS), the firewall minimises operational expenses.

Unlike pfSense, the NG Firewall can be deployed in multiple configurations. You have the option of utilising an NG Firewall hardware appliance or your own hardware that meets the NG Firewall hardware requirements. You can also deploy it on a virtual machine or in the cloud using Azure or AWS. Compare iThemes Security and Wordfence.

9. VyOS

This is another security firewall similar to pfSense that functions as a universal router and aims to ‘democratise how we access networks.’ Like pfSense, VyOS is open-source software that provides uninterrupted internet access and includes a cutting-edge firewall.

The firewall offers network security services such as a web proxy, DHCP server and relay, and DNS forwarding. The VyOS firewall is compatible with IPv4 and IPv6, zone-based firewalls, and numerous NAT variants.

Additionally, it enables standard routeing protocols such as OSPF and BGP for small, large, and extended network communities. VyOS can be used to connect the network of your organisation to its cloud infrastructure. VyOS supports multiple protocols and does not require licencing per tunnel. Another benefit of VyOS is that it is a unified platform that gives all network community members access to its internal APIs.

10. AWS Network Firewall

The AWS (Amazon Web Services) Network Firewall offers superior network security. It functions by enabling the creation of firewall rules that provide control over network traffic. AWS Network Firewall collaborates with AWS Firewall Manager to enable the creation of policies applicable to all of your Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and network accounts.

I like that you never have to worry about these policies again; you can use them at any time in the future. AWS Network Firewall enables you to inspect and manage network traffic as well as filter outbound traffic to prevent data loss.

This traffic filtering function also prevents access to malicious websites. The software features intrusion prevention, domain name filtering, and application protocol detection in particular. AWS Simple Storage Service is also compatible with AWS Direct Connect, AWS Kinesis, AWS Organisation, and AWS Organisation.

AWS Network Firewall is a fantastic option for those on a tight budget, which is the primary reason we recommend it. It is a simple yet highly effective firewall that provides all the necessary protection.

11. GFI KerioControl

GFI KerioControl is a firewall of the next generation that offers security services to small and medium-sized enterprises. It functions as a unified threat management product that provides a comprehensive and enduring answer to all security issues. The GFI KerioControl NGFW offers a solution for traffic management that enables you to manage network traffic across all servers. Additionally, you can manage incoming and outgoing communication via URL, traffic classification, or application.

In addition, it includes an intrusion prevention feature that detects and prevents malware and internet hazards. Notable is the GFI KerioControl web content and application filtering utility, which monitors and controls website categories and allows or disallows access to undesirable websites.

Additionally, the firewall prevents Trojans, viruses, and parasites from entering your network server. It also prevents peer-to-peer networks and protects your network from bandwidth-hogging websites.

With GFI KerioControl’s built-in VPN technology, you can also protect your organization’s local or remote server. GFI KerioControl, unlike pfSense, includes an Internet Link Load Balancing feature that allows you to distribute internet traffic across multiple links, with the option to enable or disable these links. You can deploy the KerioControl firewall in a variety of configurations. It can be deployed as either a hardware or software appliance, or as a virtual machine.

12. GlassWire

GlassWire offers protection for your network, device, and data. Through GlassWire’s Network Monitoring Graph, its privacy and security features enable you to determine which third-party network is communicating with your PC. Additionally, you can observe the websites, networks, and IP addresses to which your computer has been connected. GlassWire also enables you to monitor the activities of those who are connected to your network and notifies you when an unknown network joins your server.

You can approve or reject new connections, and it detects and immediately blocks malware, spyware, viruses, bandwidth hogs, and unsafe applications. I particularly like that GlassWire Firewall alerts you when it detects abnormal changes in integrated applications or on your PC.

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Its network monitoring feature enables you to monitor your data usage and receive alerts when you are approaching your limit. I also appreciate that GlassWire permits the creation of customised firewall profiles for various scenarios. This firewall is accessible on both the Google Play Store and Windows, where it can be downloaded.

13. Barracuda

This firewall boasts superior network protection compared to firewalls of the next iteration. Barracuda provides comprehensive security for both on-premises and multi-cloud environments, similar to pfSense. This firewall is favoured by many businesses because its cloud-hosted Advanced Threat Protection offers multiple layers of security. Barracuda provides superior protection against persistent attacks by utilising comprehensive sandboxing, static code analysis, heuristic and behavioural analysis, etc.

It detects and prevents threats, such as ransomware and zero-day attacks. Barracuda is served by millions of global data collection points, allowing the firewall to provide rapid protection against threats that are relatively unknown. It combats SQL injections, Trojans, spyware, denial of service attacks, and viruses, among other threats. Barracuda is deployable in multiple physical locations and cloud platforms, including Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS. It also includes SD-WAN capabilities that make it easier to manage connectivity, particularly since the firewall supports multiple connections to remote users and the cloud.

14. Cisco Secure Firewall

Cisco Secure Firewall is a highly functional security solution that harmonises your network and protects all data, regardless of whether you are operating in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. It enables the creation of a unified policy applicable to all connected systems and facilitates the prioritisation of essential tasks.

The secure firewall enables you to gain visibility and control over your encrypted traffic, view server activity, and readily identify malicious signals. It establishes a distinct workspace and protects your data regardless of your location. The Cisco Secure Firewall also includes SecureX licence entitlement, which provides a sophisticated approach to threat correlation across your network communities and quick responses.

In addition, the Cisco Secure Firewall Device Manager, Management Centre, and Defence Orchestrator simplify policy administration. This firewall’s sophisticated architecture provides one of the most secure integrations overall. You can rest assured that all of your applications and users are safeguarded across multiple network communities.

15. WatchGuard

WatchGuard is another alternative to pfSense that you should investigate. The security software provides all categories of businesses with advanced network security services. This firewall’s simplicity is one of its most notable advantages. WatchGuard is incredibly simple to deploy and administer from the point of purchase to configuration. I also appreciate its innovative features, which offer a new route to digital security services.

WatchGuard Firewalls offers among the quickest UTM performance, regardless of price. I also appreciate its visibility feature, which enables you to observe oceans of network data and detect threats or suspicious server activity.

WatchGuard’s after-sales customer support is the frosting on the cake, as it ensures your satisfaction with the product’s performance. It is the optimal firewall for securing an organization’s server, particularly in hybrid and cloud environments.

WatchGuard offers a comprehensive map of all connected devices and their respective activities. Additionally, it provides a malware-scanning option to scan compressed files for evasive viruses and flaws. The software primarily enhances the WiFi experience and monitors usage data to generate detailed reports based on the user’s preferences and habits.


These alternatives to pfSense offer a multitude of useful features that can help you secure your network more effectively. They have user-friendly interfaces, support multiple VPN protocols, and include pfSense features such as traffic shaping and content filtration, among others. These alternatives to pfSense are appropriate for businesses of all sizes and provide comprehensive security solutions for your organization.

Regardless of the size of your organization, pfSense alternatives can help you protect your network more effectively. Investigate the pfSense alternatives thoroughly and select the one that best meets your requirements. Consider features such as user interface, VPN protocols supported, pfSense features, high availability (HA) and failover support, and more when selecting the best pfSense alternative for your organization.

The alternatives to pfSense outlined here provide comprehensive pfSense security solutions and are appropriate for businesses of all sizes. Consider your organization’s demands carefully, investigate pfSense alternatives, and select the option that best meets those requirements. Using a suitable alternative to pfSense, you will be able to protect your network from potential threats more effectively.


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